Startup Spotlight: All In Energy

Sep 10, 2018

 

Startup Spotlight: All In Energy

Sep 10, 2018

Meet Rouwenna Altemose, co-founder–with Gabe Shapiro–of All In Energy, the non-profit organization advancing an inclusive clean energy economy!

GH: What is All In Energy?

All In Energy is a nonprofit organization that enables underserved residents (historically renters, low-to-moderate income households, people who speak languages other than English, and people of color) to save money on their utility bills by connecting them to government and utility energy incentive programs.
All In Energy will also serve as a talent pipeline, enabling individuals from underrepresented groups to access career opportunities in the growing clean energy workforce. All In Energy is piloting its outreach efforts in Codman Square with the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation as a core partner, connecting residents to no-cost energy efficiency audits.

GH: How did you build your team?

One critical team we have been building is our board of directors. We’ve been working hard this summer to recruit a diverse board in terms of race, gender, and skills and are excited about the team we have assembled.

On the staff side, we have to be creative in in these early stages as we build up the resources to be able to support ourselves and a staff team financially. This summer we hired three summer interns, two funded through the Mass Clean Energy Center’s Internship Program and one through BU’s Social Impact MBA  Internship Fund. We also had a high school volunteer help us out for a week.
We are in the process of hiring fall interns through similar programs. Our goal as we build our team further is to hire multilingual, multiracial staff who are local to the communities we are serving.

GH: What was your Eureka moment: how did All In Energy get started?

Gabe and I were introduced through a professor at BU who we both knew. Gabe has worked for about a decade in clean energy companies and led the outreach and partnerships team at Next Step Living in Boston for many years. He had seen how community and city partnerships and one-on-one conversations about energy efficiency and renewable energy could be effective at getting large numbers of people to take action to reduce their energy use and switch to renewable energy. He had also helped launch the careers of hundreds of young professionals into the clean energy space. He was inspired by that and wanted to focus this work on a mission to enable people in underserved communities access energy savings and clean energy and diversify the clean energy workforce.
I have worked for about a decade in climate change education, youth leadership development, and advocacy. I’m passionate about inspiring people to take action to combat the climate crisis and addressing inequities that exist in our society. After about 3 hours of conversation, Gabe and I agreed we wanted to launch All In Energy together with a mission to accelerate an inclusive transition to a clean energy economy.

Rouwenna Altmose,
co-founder

Gabe Shapiro,
co-founder

GH: What is your company philosophy driving your company culture?

Gabe and I are both committed to equity and sustainability. This means that we have a collaborative culture, where we work together to troubleshoot challenges, learn together, and are building our organization as a team. We also try to keep issues of societal equity central to our decision making. We are also committed to sustainability, which means we are working hard to test and solidify a sustainable financial model with a combination of earned revenue and philanthropic giving. It also means that we value work-life balance and value maintaining healthy habits (exercise, eating good food, family time, etc), even as we work hard to launch a startup.

GH: What did you learn from your first customers?

This summer we confirmed that the communities where we are working have a mix of low and moderate income households, as well as renters and homeowners. This means that we are working to build programs that will serve all these types of customers and connect them with the appropriate energy incentive programs, while also finding ways for this programming to be financially sustainable for us.

GH: What has the Boston ecosystem provided you?

We had the great opportunity to participate in the BU Summer Accelerator Program this year, which connected us with mentors, speakers, and potential collaborators across Boston.

GH: What is the Boston ecosystem lacking from your perspective?

There are a lot of resources in Boston for-profit startups, including accelerators, venture capitalist networks, pitch nights and more. However, there don’t seem to be as many resources for nonprofit startup organizations. I think that nonprofits, with their focus on achieving a mission and making enough money to sustain themselves, rather than on creating a large return for shareholders, have a critical role to play in addressing some of our society’s most pressing issues. I would love to see more support for nonprofits developing innovative solutions to challenges.

GH: What’s the best piece of advice you were given along the way?

The best piece of advice I got in our early early stages was to talk to everyone about our idea. You never know who will be inspired to help you, who people might now, or where an early conversation might lead. Plus, you get great feedback from people’s reactions, questions, and ideas in the early phases.

GH: What was the best thing that happened to you last year?

I finished my MBA at Questrom School of Business at BU and I met Gabe, right when I was looking for my next opportunity. I’m excited that we now get to work together to make All In Energy a reality.

GH: What does the future hold for All In Energy?

Our plan is to build on our pilot in Codman Square to expand across Boston, and then to cities across Massachusetts. We want to become a one-stop-shop to connect residents to fully vetted, high quality and affordable energy efficiency and clean energy service providers to help them save money and energy at home and switch to renewable energy. Additionally, we intend to develop a career pipeline to help individuals from underrepresented groups get jobs the clean energy workforce. By diversifying the industry we believe we can help it better serve all residents of Massachusetts and bring the benefits of the clean energy economy to every community.

Learn more about All In Energy!

Map of all of your neighbors who have already begun saving by completing a no-cost home energy assessment, courtesy of All In Energy website

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